Masked suspect breaks into upscale River Oaks spa


It happened at the Urban Retreat Spa at the corner of West Gray and Shepherd. The spa's entrance is on top floor of parking garage, making it an unusual and unassuming target.

A spa is where we go to relax.

"I was very stressed out, especially my employees, and just very scary for them," Urban Retreat owner Saira Ali said.

But Ali can't melt away her frustration.

"He knew where to go and what to get, so he didn't stay long, for sure," Houston Police Department Officer Rick Barajas said.

Surveillance video from inside her high-end spa shows a masked thief as he dashes from the front doors to the back of the salon.

"He's turning off the alarm. He sits down, he knew inside the cabinet there is a safe," Ali said.

He steals more than $8,000 and darts right back out the front doors with the bag full of cash.

"The person knew the safe code, alarm code and had the key or made the key somehow," Ali said.

While police say it could be an inside job, they aren't ruling out other possibilities.

"Pay attention to the mannerisms, the suspect's stature, the walk, in particular," Barajas said.

Meantime, Ali has changed keys and codes and wants this man caught so she and her staff can return to tranquility.

"Now we have to be very, very careful," Ali said.

The spa owner is asking for outdoor surveillance and a round-the-clock roving security guard.

Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect is asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston at (713) 222-TIPS (8477).

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for any information called in to the 713-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online at that leads to the filing of felony charges or arrest of the suspect in this case. Tips can also be sent by text message. Text TIP610 plus your tip to CRIMES (274637). All tipsters remain anonymous.

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